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Notes From an interview with Henry Prevost of Glens Falls, NY conducted on January 15, 2002. Present were Henry and his son David. The interview was conducted for the Corners Project by Gwen Palmer and Bob Bayle.
Henry’s Grandfather, Octave LeFebvre (later LaFay), came to the United States in 1900 from Plantagenet, Ontario, Canada, a small town southwest of Montreal and east of Ottawa. He worked as a riverman for Finch Pruyn in Glens Falls. Henry’s father was Alexander Prevost. He was a farmer in Canada and when he arrived in Glens Falls, he initially worked for Jointa Lime Company and then for the Glens Falls Portland Cement Company, eventually becoming night supervisor. His mother was Delia LeFebvre. Henry was one of eleven children, 7 boys and 4 girls. Henry was born March 6, 1904, in a house on Lower Warren Street (either 171 or 173 according to city directories) that is still standing. The family later moved to an area further down Lower Warren Street called Monty’s Bridge. Apparently this was a settlement of mostly French families located in the general area around where the first traffic light after the cement company is now found and where Quaker Road ends at the road to Hudson Falls. Henry related that there were several houses, a store and Carl’s Inn in the Monty’s Bridge area. While living there, Henry recalls a man coming in the evenings to light a gas street light and coming back in the morning to extinguish it. When Henry was fourteen, the family moved to Cottage Place in Glens Falls.
Henry remembered when the bridge between Glens Falls and South Glens Falls was washed out in a spring flood in March of 1913. He said he and other kids used to go down to the river to watch the new bridge being built and parts of the old one being removed from the rocks it had fallen on to.
When Henry was twelve years old he recalled that on Saturdays, he would ride on a truck for Linehan’s Bakery making home deliveries. He helped the driver who he said was rather large and had trouble getting in and out of the truck. For this he was paid fifty cents a day plus, for dinner, anything he wanted from the truck. There was a boarding house and farm in the Monty's Bridge area owned by the Sullivans. Henry remembers working for them with part of his pay being free milk for the whole family. He remembers taking dinner pails to the boarders who worked at the Imperial Color and Paper Company. In the winter, ice was taken from the Hudson River and stored in a sawdust filled ice house on the farm.
For a short time, Henry attended a grammar school that was located in back of his house at Monty’s Bridge. It was called the Black School due to its black color. At age fourteen, after graduating from St. Alphonsus School, Henry started working at the Glens Falls Portland Cement Company being paid forty cents an hour. He was employed as an office boy. He took a correspondence course in electricity and became an electrician. He was involved with changing the electric system over to 40 cps from 25 cps. He started working at the Adirondack Power and Light Company in 1926, retiring in 1969 at age 65. During this time, the company name changed to New York Power and Light Company, then to Niagara Hudson Power Company and later to Niagara Mohawk Power Company. He became active in organizing the electricians union at the power company, serving as its president for eight years beginning in 1955.
Henry recalled three murders that occurred in the area. The first, about 1916, an ex-boyfriend shot to death a girl and wounded her current boyfriend, Albert Lemery. This happened on the Boulevard opposite Monty’s Bridge. The name of the perpetrator was known but he was never caught. Albert’s brothers used to get their guns and go looking for the shooter, but never found him.
The second murder happened at the foot of Glen Street hill but Henry could not recall either the date or all the details. The person murdered was Jimmy Zito, a trackman for the Hudson Valley Rail Road.
The third murder occurred at the Madden Hotel on South Street in Glens Falls and was apparently gang related. A Mr. Green was murdered by Johnny Hyson.
During prohibition, Henry recalled there being four or five speakeasies on South Street. Booze was brought into the area from Canada along what he called the Pok-O-Moonshine trail which came down through Chestertown. Henry recalled making a trip to Canada with George Brayton to get some liquor to bring down to George’s father, Buel, who ran The Antlers on the Bolton Road.
Another story about George Brayton involved his running for public office. Several of his helpers would buy drinks for people and then take them to the voting booth and show them how to vote correctly. George won the election.
At age fourteen, Henry joined the Saint Alphonsus Club. There was a basketball court on the top floor of the old school building and they would play games there against teams from other localities such as Hudson Falls, Fort Edward, North Creek, Minerva, Warrensburg and Lake George. This was a semi pro league and the team received thirty-five dollars for a game. The team’s manager was Alpha St. Clair from Whitehall. After the games there would be a dance in the same location. Henry said they used to visit barrooms after the games as well.
Henry recalls that about 1918, near the end of the first world war, he attended some military training held at the Armory on Warren St. As he was only fourteen, this must have been some junior militia or such.
Henry remembers the flu epidemic of 1917 – 1918. He was working at the cement company at the time. None of his immediate family was affected but one of his aunts lost her husband, a daughter and a son to the flu.
As a youngster, Henry remembers watching the circus parade as it made its way from the railroad station on Maple Street to the circus grounds that were on Broad Street (then West Street) where the Toyota dealer is today.
One of the recreational activities Henry remembered was going to Round Pond by trolley in the summer for swimming. There was no Country Club there then. There were various house parties that were held, always chaperoned. In the winter, the field at Crandall Park was flooded for skating. Bowling was an activity that Henry participated in starting in 1918 and still enjoys today. He recalls there being bowling alleys at the top of Glen Street hill, on Park Street and at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Warren Street. He was on a team when he was at the cement company and later formed at team consisting of himself and his six brothers. They bowled at the Miller alleys on Maple Street. In 1938, Henry bowled a 200 game five times in a row at a state tournament.
As stated before, the family moved to Cottage Place in Glens Falls in 1918. There was no electricity in the house when they moved in, so Henry and a cousin wired the house. His father was operating a grocery store in South Glens Falls. Later he opened a store at the corner of West Street (now Broad Street) and Cottage Place. There was also a barber shop at that location. Their house on Cottage Place was burned around 1924.
Reminiscing about the house he grew up in, Henry recalls it being heated by a large pot belly stove. There was a hole in the ceiling to let heat into the upstairs but he recalls it was not too efficient. There were no inside toilet facilities then, so they had an outhouse with two seats, a large for adults and a smaller one for children. Every spring the hole was filled in, another hole dug and the outhouse moved. A lantern was available to light your way at night. In the kitchen was a large stove that had a large pot of water that was kept warm for bathing. In the winter bathing was done inside in a large tub. In the summer, a dip in the canal took care of the bathing. The stoves could use either wood or coal for fuel. A neighboring farm, Sullivan’s, had an ice house where they kept ice cut from the Hudson River stored in sawdust.
Henry recalls that for several years people used to gather at the newspaper building at the corner of Park and Glen Streets to “watch” baseball’s World Series. This was done by using the information coming over the teletype into the newspaper office to duplicate the play on a large board placed on the outside of the building.Back to The Corners Home Page
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